Op-Ed: Women Don't Need to Train Men!

Dima Sidelnikov/
Editor's note: On November 30, we published a piece about The Great Love Debate, a self-described "nationally touring series of live Town Hall-style forums on love, dating and relationships," which had just proclaimed Denver the worst town for dating. To get the goods, Michael Roberts interviewed host Brian Howie, who says the problem is mostly the men of this city...but women aren't totally innocent. Katie B., a blogger at, responded to our story (below). The Great Love Debate will be back in Denver on Wednesday, December 13; find tickets at

Dear Denver Westword, Michael Roberts but mostly Brian Howie,

Yesterday, three individuals sent me your recent article "Denver Is USA's Worst City for Dating Because Mile High Bros Are Lazy," assuming that it would support many of the claims I have made on my blog. I was very excited to look it over, but my excitement died in the very first paragraph with: “And while this behavior exasperates plenty of women, most of these potential partners let them get away with it.” Once again, women are being blamed for men’s crappy behavior.

Please allow me to use the “teach back” method, to verify my comprehension of what I just read. Dating in Denver blows because there is an epidemic where a large percentage of single Denver men are apathetic and lazy (agreed). Dudes don’t know how to treat a woman with any sort of enthusiasm or desire to make her feel special (agreed). There’s a college mentality of hanging out in groups rather than devoting individual time and attention on women, even when the men are well into their 30s and 40s (agreed). And I absolutely agree with the statement that “Denver women are pretty much as good as you're going to get. But the men in Denver — and I'm generalizing — are as passive as any we've come across considering what they have there and their ability to do better." But after all of that, we scroll down to this old chestnut, “[T]hey're not being trained by the women in Denver. So that's partially on them. Actually, it's a lot on them.”

According to you, it is my job as a woman to train you, so let the training commence. It is not a woman’s fault, not now, not ever, that a man doesn’t treat her well. You [men], are not puppies. I don’t need to rub your nose in all of your terrible behavior. Humans should be decent to each other; all genders, all races, all sexualities. We should all hold ourselves accountable.

“Denver women are pretty much as good as you're going to get.” This makes me curious, if Denver women are good, and it’s our job to make Denver men good, then how did we get this way without anyone training us? Was there some ancient third gender that came down from the distant planet of Basic Human Decency? Unfortunately, there was not. No demographic trained us to become “as good as you’re going to get." This leads me to believe it is possible for men to become decent on their own.

Another thing I am curious about: If I am to blame for men not treating me well, am I also to blame for your words? Meaning If I don’t speak up to tell you how you are perpetuating a victim-blaming culture on your cross-country tour, are your words my fault? While I hope this letter finds you and makes you reconsider your position, my greater hope is that eventually women won’t need to write letters like this. I hope we won’t be expected to train men to behave in a way that makes us feel valued.

But until that day comes, you told me that I need to hold men to a higher standard, so here it goes:

Dear Westword, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Howie, and I guess all Denver men:

Here's what I want you to do. I think you're awesome. You have so much potential. I need you to stop blaming women for the transgression of men. You need to stop using media and entertainment to say that a man’s laziness/apathy/overall bad behavior is a result of a woman not doing her job to train him. You need to stop underestimating men. You need to encourage men to believe they are capable of holding themselves and their male peers accountable.

You need to stop blaming the victim.

You need to stop blaming the victim.

You need to stop blaming the victim.

According to Mr. Howie, these are the magic words that will train you. I said them. Will you do it? Will you jump through the hoop? Are you trainable? Did I set the bar high enough?

Westword occasionally publishes op-eds on issues of interest to metro Denver residents. Send submissions to [email protected]
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